Grown Here at Home: It's time to start harvesting grapes for wine

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PULASKI CO., Va. (WDBJ7) We're heading into the fall season, which means grape growers are busy bringing in the harvest.

At Iron Heart Winery in Pulaski County, several varieties of grapes are growing.

“We've got five acres in this mature section. It's five varieties. We're standing in chardonnay. Vidal Blanc, Riesling, Cabernet Franc, and Chambourcin. So there's one acre of each of those varieties. And we planted another five acres to our east that has Merlot, Traminette, some more Chambourcin and some more Vidal Blanc,” explained Adam Fariss, owner of Iron Heart Winery.

This year's growing season has been fairly good for the mature vineyard. There's been a good mix of rain and dry weather to keep the vines healthy and growing. There's also several young vines on the vineyard. They've been in the ground since May.

“They are approximately 24 inches long and we'll dig a hole that’s 27 inches deep and put the root stock all the way to the bottom of the hole and fill it with dirt. And then place a quarter-inch thick piece of bamboo next to the plant with a grow tube around it; and that allows the plant to raise towards the light,” Fariss said.

It's a busy season for vineyards as it's harvest time.

“The Chardonnay we'll harvest typically around mid-September. We'll have 15 to 20 people come out and help us harvest. We'll pick all the fruit by hand with small sheers, drop it in buckets. And then we come along with a piece of equipment and pick those buckets up and take them to the crush pad where the fruit is crushed, de-stemmed and put into a press that will squeeze it with nomadic pressure. And that juice is pumped into tanks where it will ferment,” Fariss said.

With a little time and patience, the wine is bottled up and ready for you to drink. Cheers!